Yesterday, July 27, a group of space enthusiasts from Denmark launched a two-stage, homemade rocket into the upper atmosphere, at an altitude of 20 kilometers (12 miles). The team behind the rocket is called Copenhagen Suborbitals.
The new test is meant to support the development and testing of advanced technologies necessary for a manned, 1-person spacecraft the team is developing. The unmanned rocket is called SMARAGD-1.
The vehicle was launched into the atmosphere from aboard a floating launch platform, called Sputnik, which is located in the Baltic Sea. The main purposes of the flight were to test long-range communications, how the rocket behaves during stage separation and other relevant systems.
Copenhagen Suborbitals launched their first prototype vehicles, the HEAT-1X rocket and an unmanned space capsule, back in 2011. The non-profit group says that yesterday's rocket test is the second launch they have ever conducted, Space reports.
The manned space capsule the group is currently developing is called Tycho Deep Blue. Shaped like a smaller version of the NASA Apollo spacecraft that took humans to the Moon, the vehicle will carry a single passenger to the edge of space.
“What a fantastic day! Thanks for all the support, viewers and donators,” Kristian von Bengtson wrote on the Rocket Shop Blog, where the progress of the group's efforts is being chronicled. He is a co-founder of Copenhagen Suborbitals.
The representative also said that around 50 team members were on station to view the launch, from aboard a vessel loaned from the Danish National Guard. The ship also doubled as mission control for the rocket launch.
The SMARAGD-1 rocket was launched from an inclined rail aboard the Sputnik. Sea conditions around the floating launch pad were favorable, the team adds. The platform is located off the coast of Bornholm, Denmark.
“This SMARAGD-1 launch will be short fueled deliberately to have a controlled test and stability verification before going all the way,” the blog post went on to say. Interestingly, this group of rocket enthusiasts managed to achieve some pretty impressive milestones in just 4 years.